WELCOME TO THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF AUSTIN, UCC!
If you’re looking for a small, friendly church where everyone will quickly know your name…where no matter your age, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical ability you’ll be openly loved and embraced…where you’ll be challenged to reflect on your beliefs, acknowledge your doubts, ask your questions, and grow in your faith…where God’s desire for compassion, healing, reconciliation, and justice is preached…where you’re given the opportunity to put your faith into action through effective outreach ministries…then we hope to get to know you as a new friend, because that’s who we are.
We are affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a progressive Christian denomination that has roots in the ancient Judeo-Christian traditions and promotes contemporary spirituality, responds to the most pressing justice issues of our day, celebrates diversity and works ecumenically with other faith communities, and seeks to be the church in new ways in our rapidly changing world.
The United Church of Christ’s ethos is reflected in our church’s open affirmation of diversity, our ministry to the homeless, justice advocacy and ecumenical relationships, our love and care for one another, and our support for one another’s spiritual growth.
OUR SERVICE: 11 AM Sunday Mornings
In our worship, we combine joyful and spirit-filled singing with moments of quiet reflection and prayer. Music has been a mainstay of the worship service from the founding of the church. A trio and a choir provide the music each Sunday. We openly share the joys and concerns of our lives, pray for one another and the world, read and reflect on scripture, and respond to God’s call to minister to the world with compassion and wisdom. While our service follows a somewhat traditional order, it leaves room for spontaneity, and all of our liturgies use gender inclusive language. On the first Sunday of every month, we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.
After worship, folks gather to enjoy coffee and refreshments, to catch up with one another, and to meet new folks. We are rather informal and casual, and pretty easy to get to know. We hope to see you on Sunday.
The pastor of the church is Rev. Tom Vandestadt. Tom was born and raised in Connecticut, and lived in Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York before moving to Austin, Texas in 2001. He holds a B.A. in political science from Moravian College, a M.A. in cultural anthropology from State University of New York, and a M. Div. from Boston University. Before coming to Austin, Tom served as Minister of Mission Outreach at the Congregational Churches in Weston and Waltham, Massachusetts; co-pastor of the Manchester Parish UCC outside of Baltimore, Maryland; pastor of Arcade United Church of Christ outside of Buffalo, New York; and pastor of Fairmount Community Church UCC in Syracuse, New York. You can learn more about Tom and his family here: Rev. Tom Vandestadt.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND SPIRITUALITY
Christian education and spirituality are important elements of the Congregational Church of Austin’s ministry. We do not dictate specific doctrines, creeds, or beliefs. Rather, we encourage one another to bring traditional expressions of Christian faith into open-minded dialogue with contemporary forms of knowledge, to reflect deeply on our religious beliefs and spiritual experiences, to acknowledge and wrestle with our questions and doubts, to bring our faith and spirituality to bear on the world’s most pressing issues, and to continuously grow and mature as human beings. More can be found at Christian Education and Spirituality.
Throughout the long life of the church, quality education of the children has always had a high priority. We seek to prepare them for the moral decisions they will face in their lives, to know and appreciate the traditions of the church and to encouage a life that includes service to others. The many young people who have passed through the church who exemplify these qualities are a testament to the efforts of their parents and families. We also believe that the Church has played a role in the forming of the character of these young men and women.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: 10 AM Sunday Mornings
Nursery care is available for children four and under during the worship service.
Elementary age children and older youth attend the worship service for the first few minutes and depart for Sunday School after Children’s Time with the Pastor. More can be found here: Children Sunday School
Older youth meet with a teacher or mentor for discussion. The youth webpage is here: Youth Sunday School
Adults meet for Sunday School at 10 AM in the Christian Education Building. The class’ website will provide you examples of past and current topics discussed. Adult Sunday School Class
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE
The church has always had an active outreach program and partners with many group to provide service to the community. You can find a list here: Opportunities for Service
The church has a long history of service. It has initiated many community projects, some controversial, however they have now become accepted widely in the Christian community. You can read about this history here: Church History.
LOCATION AND PARKING
We are located in the West Campus neighborhood of the University of Texas on the corner of San Antonio St. and 23rd St. When attending our church on Sunday, you can PARK FOR FREE until 2:00 pm in the University COOP Garage located diagonally across the street on the south side of San Antonio and 23rd (you can only enter the garage on San Antonio, not from 23rd). San Antonio Street is one-way North.